Ivy in the woods

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

A great many of – often rather uneducated – people believe that ivy, climbing up trees harms the trees and strangles them but this is not the case. Unfortunately some people, alas, will not be told and, illegally, if they are not the owners of the woods, will cut the ivy and remove it.

A good amount of ivy in the woods is good. As well as being a great habitat for wildlife, it's a food source for pollinators woken by, such as this year, 2019, unseasonably warm weather. It is also a most important food source for some solitary bees before they turn in for the winter.

Ivy creeping up a tree does not harm the tree with one exception and that is when it gets too much into the canopy and suppresses light reaching the leaves of the tree itself. In general the rule should be; leave well alone. While it may appear that ivy would strangle a tree this is actually not the case, unlike other climbers and creepers.

Other creepers, on the other hand, such as honeysuckle, etc., are stranglers and they do harm indeed the trees, literally strangling them. Having said that, though, some interesting patterns are often created on saplings making for fantastic and very sought after walking sticks, for instance.

When it comes to ivy, however, trying to convince members of the public that ivy is not harmful to trees is often like talking to the proverbial wall; they just do not want to believe it, even if one presents them with the scientific evidence.

© 2019